Facebook is taking a page from Amazon, Apple, and Roku by setting up its own video subscription marketplace, though it doesn’t have many partners on board at the moment. In what the company describes as a test, it will let some users sign up for BBC and ITV’s BritBox, CollegeHumor Dropout, the MotorTrend App, or TasteMade Plus directly through Facebook, rather than through each service individually.
Amazon first popularized the concept of video subscription marketplaces through its Channels service, which has since been imitated by Apple (through Apple TV Channels) and Roku (through Roku Premium Subscriptions), among others. In exchange for a cut of subscription revenues, these marketplaces can help put streaming services in front of a larger audience and streamline the billing process. With Facebook boasting of 140 million daily Facebook Watch users, the hope is that it can convert a meaningful number into paid subscribers.
But while Facebook has reportedly courted major networks such as HBO and Showtime for its subscription push, only niche services are on board right now. That’ll have to change if Facebook wants to get into TV streaming hardware, as Cheddar reported last year.